Last week’s blog detailed Linsey LaPlant’s experience as an administrative reviewer for Washington state, as well as her advice to those going through an administrative review. In the second part of this two-part series, Linsey shares her overall takeaway for those being reviewed, as well as her experience being reviewed.

The big takeaway is this: don’t change just for your review, because your reviewer will more than likely pick up on it.

I always encouraged people to use each other. Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. Network with the other districts in your area to figure out your state’s hot button: what is your reviewer specifically looking for? That way you can be ready.

Health-e Pro: After being a reviewer, you worked for Federal Way as the Nutrition Services Dietitian Manager and were on the other side: being reviewed. What was that like?

Linsey: Federal Way utilizes a large-volume production kitchen serving 17,000 meals a day. I was there to ensure compliance with all federal and state regulations. I did the recipes and nutrient analysis utilizing the Health-e Pro software, which had been purchased prior to me getting there; I was tasked with exploring and learning Health-e Pro months before we were up for review. I had basically three months to get everything going. The recipes, ingredients, and backup documentation was all in the Health-e Pro software by the time we got reviewed.  I used the Health-e Pro EZ Review button and it couldn’t have been easier to get organized.  Everything was right there, organized in order with the menu, recipes, ingredients, all back-up documentation and reports.

When I was a reviewer, those in the school district would tell me, “I don’t know how you review all these ingredients and menus all the time,” but after my time spent on the other side I give a lot of credit to those doing this work in the school district. It’s hard.

We appreciate Linsey’s time in providing some details and insight into Administrative Reviews and how districts can best prepare for them. Comprehensive menu planning software, like Health-e Pro, plays a significant role in helping districts maintain compliance while keeping all documentation in one place. Districts that ask questions throughout the whole process–and not just during the review itself, network with other food service directors in the area, while being prepared and consistent are the biggest keys to passing an Administrative Review.